Volume 2 Issue 63 | August 1, 2009 |


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From Sirajganj

Sewing with Laila Sayeed

Golam Mostafa Jibon

LAILA Sayeed is a woman of about 35, from Masumpur Mohollah in Sirajganj town. She became a victim of child marriage when she was married off while still a student of class seven. During that period, her husband worked at Sirajganj Quami Jute Mills. Due to their limited earning, they faced a lot of hardship in taking care of their household. In the meantime, Laila gave birth to a son who was another mouth to feed.

Encouraged by her mother, Laila set out to do something to earn some extra money. At her mother's advice she bought a sewing machine and started working at home. She started giving training to local women including school and college going poor girls on how to embroider and do handicrafts. Within a few days, she became popular in the area.

With the help of 40 women, she opened a sewing training centre named Piasha Mohila Kallyan Sangstha (PMKS) at her home in 1995. She got her organisation registered in 2002 with the Women's Affairs Department. Since then she has not looked back. At least 2000 women in the area have taken training at the centre on embroideries and handicrafts and they too are going on to earn money.

At present, eight women are working at her centre and earning their living. A number of women are training under the supervision of the employees on embroideries and handicrafts on different courses. They are also producing many kinds of handicrafts, which are being exported to many countries like England, Canada, Switzerland and Japan after fulfilling domestic demand.

Laila is now earning about Tk 15,000 to Tk. 20,000 per month. Her son has gone abroad. Meanwhile, Laila has built a four storied building on her own land as an office and residence.

Laila's PMKS, with financial assistance from BRAC Kallyan Project recently completed a two-month training course on embroideries and handicrafts for 44 poor women, who were laid off from Quami Jute Mills in Sirajganj. PMKS also provided a certificate, a sewing machine and Tk 2000 to each of the trainees to start their first initiative.

Rawshan Ara, 35, wife of Iqbal Hossain of Masumpur, said she was earning Tk 2000 per month at the centre. Earlier, she had undergone training there.

Sweety, 25, also a student of Sirajganj University College said she was now earning Tk 7000 per month at the centre working as a designer.

Like them, many women, including Morjina, 35, Monika, 28, Kulsum, 22, Rubia, 33, and Josna, 25, now have jobs to earn additional money for their families after taking training at PMKS. They are happy with their newfound self-reliance. Laila said she would be able to do more if she got some financial assistance from some organisation.



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